Showing the Way to Finishing Well

Don Cobb

One of the mixed blessings of being a pastor is presiding or participating in funerals, especially those of Christian friends. On the one hand there is sadness for the loss of family members and friends; on the other there is the celebration knowing those individuals “see in full” as the Apostle Paul writes. They have arrived safely into the arms of Jesus. They’re home.

Doug Sager

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the joy and high honor of participating in the funerals of two gentlemen leaders and choice servants of God — pastors Don Cobb and Doug Sager. Both these men exemplified what it means to love God and love people. They set the bar high for pastoral ministry while demonstrating the highest level of humility. Both had a passion to see people come to saving faith in Jesus. Both demonstrated what we can be when we walk with God and submit to His leadership every day, every week, every month, every year, year-after-year until Jesus calls us home. Both men left legacies whose ripple effects will reap a Kingdom harvest for years to come. They’ve shown us how to finish well. Continue reading “Showing the Way to Finishing Well”

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor

pastor speaking podiumLet me go ahead and say it: Pastors aren’t perfect.

Surely that isn’t new information for anyone, but I can almost hear you saying, “Well thanks for that news flash Captain Obvious.” But let me ask, if we already know that why do we expect different from our pastors?

Ironically, I’m not just talking to the dear brothers and sisters who gather each week in our pews. I’m also talking to the men who stand in the pulpit in front of those pews. Both groups know the truth yet too often live in the world of unmet expectations rather than reality.

I’ve obviously been a member of both the pew and pulpit groups and I know any pastor worth his salt has a high expectation of himself. He wants to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people well. He feels the responsibility of being God’s shepherd. Every pastor wants his church to thrive, grow, love the spiritually lost, and love each other. He wants to lead an evangelistic and financially generous church. Every pastor wants to succeed; no pastor plans to fail. Continue reading “In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor”

Three Reasons Why You Need the Summit

Summit 2017 at FBC Hendersonville, Nov. 12-15.

I loved family reunions when I was growing up. Those reunions always landed on or near my Grandpa Davis’ birthday. My Grandpa Davis was my hero. He and Granny Davis were faithful saints and I loved them dearly. Granny Davis was the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known, and Grandpa Davis served as treasurer at Little Escambia (Ala.) Baptist Church for over 40 years.

I remember that nearly 100 kinfolks would show up and pack out the church. Afterwards, we’d head to Granny’s and Grandpa’s small house for dinner-on-the-grounds. It was always a blast seeing cousins, aunts and uncles I only got to see once a year. Continue reading “Three Reasons Why You Need the Summit”

Is Ministry Your Mushroom?

mushrooms growing on treeA strange phenomenon happened in the Pacific Northwest. Large patches of trees were dying in an Oregon forest. Scientists determined the problem was a single breed of mushroom that covered 2,384 acres, about the size of 1,600 soccer fields.

Apparently the white tentacles of the mushroom wrapped around root systems and tree trunks and robbed the trees of nutrients, carbohydrates, and water. In other words, the mushrooms choked the trees to death. 

Is ministry your mushroom? I talk to ministers every week who relate to the trees. While everything looks okay on the surface, hidden stressors suck the life out of them. Left unchecked, the consequences are disastrous. For instance, according to multiple surveys … Continue reading “Is Ministry Your Mushroom?”

Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy

man silhouetteIt’s right there in the red letters:  “That my joy may be in you …”

This is a statement of fact made by Jesus Himself, and yet I’ve encountered so many pastors who haven’t experienced joy in a long time. The man behind the pulpit carries both pastoral and personal burdens, and it can be overwhelming. What once was a thrill becomes drudgery, and one day, pastor, you realize you’ve lost your joy. I know the feeling. Been there.

While I was a pastor, I signed articles and letters with the salutation, “It is a joy to be your pastor.” Once, however, the slightest typo slipped through — a single letter — and communicated something completely different: “It is a job to be your pastor.” Continue reading “Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy”

During Difficult Days, the Power of the Call

170201hard-times-stressed-silhouetteEver feel overwhelmed, depressed, discouraged, burned out by the demands that surround the ministry?

When the challenges of ministry and faithfulness in preaching the gospel began to overwhelm me, a book entitled The Power of the Call (Blackaby, Brandt and Skinner) was excellent reading.

Full-time and bivocational pastors deal with these same challenges at various times. Here are six tips to help us refocus during difficult days when we might even question our call: Continue reading “During Difficult Days, the Power of the Call”

I Now Know How You Feel

white_flower_black_backgroundSometimes people make well-meaning statements when they are trying to comfort others about things which they have no personal experience. Fortunately, and somehow, as a young pastor I knew not to say, “I know how you feel” unless I had been through what the other person was going through. It’s Pastoring 101.

I now know how you feel if you’re someone who has lost their momma.

My mom, Melba Ruth Graham, went home to be with the Lord on Aug. 21 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and related illnesses. Even though our family knew her home going was inevitable, it knocked my world off its axis when it actually happened. I’m still adjusting. I’m sure I’ll be adjusting for some time to come. Continue reading “I Now Know How You Feel”

A New Ministry Opportunity: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why

160511light-bulb-question-marks-chalkboardWho: I am John Parrott, who retired as Director of Missions in the Holston Valley Baptist Association in 2013, having served more than 18 years. Before serving as DOM, I served as a pastor. I have been involved in local-church ministry for 45 years. My wife, Kathie, is retired, having served as an educator for 31 years. We have a son and daughter-in-law and a daughter and son-law. Their families have given us five wonderful grandchildren. Continue reading “A New Ministry Opportunity: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why”

Appreciate Your Pastor, Especially in October

Senior pastor reading, meditating and searching spiritual lightI can’t think of a single good reason why anybody would want to be in pastoral ministry if God hasn’t called him. But if God has called, I can’t think of any vocation more rewarding.

And don’t equate rewarding with easy. Being a pastor is not easy. It’s hard, and frankly it isn’t for the faint of heart. The hours are long and the work can drain you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; sometimes all at the same time. Most people have never stood over the casket of small child and tried to bring comfort to a grieving family while having your own heart ripped out in grief.

I have. That was a hard day. Continue reading “Appreciate Your Pastor, Especially in October”

Would You Pay You What You Pay Your Pastor?

Pastor youngNew Hope Baptist Church in Leakesville, Miss., knew they were overpaying their 20-year-old preacher. He knew it too. At $125 a week, neither was real sure of what they were getting into. However, those sweet people were patient, kind, nurturing, and at every turn looked for ways to take care of their preacher boy and his new bride. For instance, there was the Christmas they gave his wife an oak coffee table and matching end tables, and gave him a Remington 1100 vent ribbed shotgun. Why? Just to tell that young couple, “We love you and appreciate you and your ministry to us.” Continue reading “Would You Pay You What You Pay Your Pastor?”